Egyptian Christians are facing growing retaliation by angry Islamists for opposing ousted President Mohammed Morsi. His supporters say Christian leaders were behind his removal from office.
"The Christians have been very visible in the anti-Morsi, anti-Brotherhood protests so far," Samuel Tadros, a research fellow for the Hudson Institute, told CBN News. "And this high visibility has angered a lot of Islamists, whether from the Brotherhood or other Islamists movements."
Watch the entire interview with Samuel Tadros here.
On Thursday, the body of a Christian merchant was found decapitated in a cemetery. Last Saturday, a Coptic Christian priest was shot by gunmen in an outdoor market.
Also, days after the military coup that removed Morsi from office, Muslim extremists in southern Egypt burned dozens of Christian homes and stabbed four believers to death.
"It's part of the Brotherhood's mobilization that they are targeting Christians, that they are renouncing them as behind this. If the Brotherhood is able to portray what happened as a Christian-dominated or Christian-driven protest, then they get to gain massive support in the streets," Tadros explained.
The former pope of Egypt's Coptic Christian community encouraged believers to stay out of the public eye and politics for fear of backlash.
But the community's new pope openly supported the removal of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from office.
"In a sense the Coptic pope's participation in the military's meeting with figures from the Egyptian society will neither be forgotten nor will it be forgiven," Tadros said.
Meanwhile, Egypt's new military-backed government ordered the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader and nine others.
They're suspected of instigating violence outside the Republican Guard building in Cairo this week.
U.S. officials have shown satisfaction with the new government's plans to reinstate democratically elected leaders.
On Thursday, defense officials announced that U.S. aid to Egypt would continue, with a delivery of F-16 fighter jets in coming weeks. Officially, though, the Obama administration is choosing to remain neutral in the crisis.